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8) What events happened in our park?

8) What events happened in our park?

What events happened in our park?

1) Background information

Where space allowed, parks were often the venue for events – large and small. Many were for fun, some had a more serious purpose, whilst others were literally for show.

These included galas, fetes, jamborees, fairs, circuses, concerts, pageants, flower and vegetable shows, competitions and exhibitions. Union or workers’ rallies often began or ended there. All events, though, needed to be approved by the parks committee in one of their regular meetings.

Parks were also used for commemorative events. War memorials were placed in parks, around which anniversary services were held. Parks also hosted events to commemorate national events such as coronation or jubilee parties.

Some events were held at specific times of the year. For example, at Easter or Whitsuntide, when new clothes were shown off, or May Day celebrations.

Displays, such as firework displays or Christmas illuminations, would often be staged in parks.

Firework displays


Image: © South Shields Local Studies Library

Christmas lights


Image: © South Shields Local Studies Library



Sometimes they commemorated past events or anniversaries.

Image: © South Shields Local Studies Library



Parks were frequently the venue for parades.

Image: © South Shields Local Studies Library

Flower shows


Image: © Wolverhampton Archives & Local Studies



Exhibitions were held in parks that had large open spaces.

Image: © Wolverhampton Archives & Local Studies



Image: © Wolverhampton Archives & Local Studies

Garden party


Parks were used as the venue for private civic events.

Image: © Tyne and Wear Archives Service

Newspaper articles


Many events were reported in newspapers.

Image: © Wolverhampton Archives & Local Studies

People’s reminiscences of their local park are being increasingly collected – on paper or as sound recordings. Contact the ‘Friends of the park’, your local museum, archives or park manager to see what might be available. Various ‘interest’ groups have created their own websites. The recordings in interviews with people describe people’s memories of events in South Marine Park, South Shields and may be help to show children the type of events that were held in your park and can be listened to and downloaded from here.

What events happened in our park?

2) Sources of information

Photographs, postcards, programmes, posters, adverts and newspaper articles are just some of the sources you can use to find out about events staged in parks. Images showing events held in parks around the country can be found in what people did in parks .

What events happened in our park?

3) Activities in school

Look at documentary sources to find out what events took place in your park. Suggest who would have organised them and why they were held there.

Who were they for? What was their purpose?

Was the park used as the start or finishing point for any events?

Which events would children have attended?

At what time of the day or year were they held? Compile a calendar of events over a year in the park.

Compare with events held in your park today. How many of these activities are still staged? Which are no longer held in your park today and why?

Which events were specifically organised for children? How does this compare to event programmes today in the park?

Give children copies of photographs of past events and ask them to explore what they see by taking in turns asking each other questions.

Devise a programme for one of the events held in your local park. Make a billposter to advertise it. Produce it using ICT in the style of the period, using different fonts and sizes.

Write a newspaper report about an event that took place in your park based on evidence in old photographs or documentary sources.